Tuesday, August 24, 2010


"Buy me a drink, sweetie?" The lady looked too old to be a stripper, too haggard to be a mistress, and too clever to be a hooker. I nodded to the barman and he reached for the bourbon. Whatever she was, she was a regular.

I gave her the once-over. The Seaview Hotel in Torquay wouldn't compete with the Savoy but it wasn't exactly a dive, either. "What's a nice place like this doing with a girl like you?"

She wrinkled her nose – at least it matched the rest of her. "I sing here. What's your excuse?"

"Touché." I smiled, raising my glass in a mock toast. "I heard there was a woman who sang so beautifully the angels cried."

She inclined her head. "Once, perhaps. Not any more." She thumped her leg, which rang hollow. "Cancer took it. Too many years of swimming in poisoned water. My voice was part of the sea." She shook her head. "Not any more."

"Pity." I paid for the dinks and picked up my hat. "I only came to bottle angel's tears."

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